bbtsiphoneI have what may be a radical suggestion for the “always control you content” types, you should consider making a change to your show’s site: instead of providing an “iPhone friendly” version of your site, send iPhone and iPod touch browsers right to your iTunes listing. This accomplishes two things: it keeps you from having to find (or make) a good mobile version of your site, and it gives your visitors the ability to add your podcast to their device immediately and start listening right away.

For those of you who missed it, the most recent set of new features for the iPhone included the ability to download podcasts directly to your device’s iPod app without connecting to the computer. Essentially, they have provided a pre-formatted list of all of your available episodes — accompanied by “download” buttons that add those files right to the official player app on the iPhone and iPod touch. That’s way more functionality than you can provide in a mobile version, and it’s all set up for you already.

As an iPhone user, this is great: it allows me to add a new podcast directly to my phone as soon as I hear about it — not to just start streaming it, but to actually store it for later listening, which duplicates the while “timeshifting” part of podcasting that you used to need the computer for. It also lets me add the latest episodes of a show to my phone without making a trip to my desk. When I’m traveling, this is essential, as my iPhone is synced with the iTunes library on my desktop computer, not my laptop.

bbts-iphoneAs a podcast producer, it gets my content exactly where I want it: on the device that a potential listener is carrying with them right now, exactly when they are in the mood to listen to it. It removes the “I’ll listen later” mental excuse that people so often forget about, and it also provides the “media instant gratification” that iPhone users are now used to (for better or for worse).

I’ve set up Boston Behind the Scenes to do this, at least partially. I don’t have a browser-detection redirect set up, but I do have an “iPhone” link at the top of the page. I also have a mobile-friendly URL set up: (on a computer, this link will just take you to the iTunes store — try it on your iPod or iPhone). Both lead directly to the iTunes app when clicked.

If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, do you like this setup? Would you prefer to have producers do this, make a mobile-specific site, or just leave their sites alone?